This Apple Vacations voucher doesn’t work! Can I get my money back?

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By Christopher Elliott

Cathy Balsewich’s travel advisor offers her an Apple Vacations voucher for $200 at a hotel in the Turks & Caicos. Why doesn’t it work? And are tour vouchers worth the paper they’re printed on?

Question

I wanted to book a trip to the Turks & Caicos last year. My travel advisor recommended Apple Vacations, and said it had a promotion that offered a $200 resort credit.

I booked the trip, but when we checked out, a hotel representative said the $200 credit was not valid. It had expired the month before we traveled.

Apple eventually offered us a $200 credit for a future Apple Vacations trip, and said it must be used within a year. This is unacceptable to us because we have no intention of booking another trip, and certainly not with Apple. If this had been properly applied as promised, $200 would have come right off the bill when I checked out.

It’s a small dollar amount in the grand scheme, but it’s just plain rude to offer us the $200 only if we book another trip in the next year. Can you help? — Cathy Balsewich, Evergreen Park, Ill.

Answer

Your resort credit should have worked. And you’re absolutely right, a $200 voucher that expires within a year is not an acceptable resolution.

But just a minute. The terms of your Apple Vacations voucher should have been clearly disclosed when you booked your trip through your travel advisor. I reviewed the offer made through your travel agent and there was no expiration date on it. (Related: Should you repeat your vacation? Let’s settle this argument once and for all.)

Frankly, that should have raised some red flags with your travel advisor. All promotions expire, and your agent should have found out if there were any terms that might apply to your booking. But ultimately, this was on Apple Vacations to properly disclose and, if necessary, to fix the issue. (Related: Can this trip be saved? “This was the worst vacation any of us have ever taken”.)

Allianz Travel Insurance has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

You might have asked about the expiration date on your voucher, too — although you can be forgiven for not doing so. I mean, that’s why you work with a trusted travel advisor. A travel pro can look at a reservation and ensure nothing is missing.

How to verify your Apple Vacations voucher

You can figure out if your Apple Vacations voucher is legit by following a few easy steps. (Related: I returned my custom outfit to Afrikrea, but they kept my money!)

Check your source

You’ll want to get your voucher directly from Apple Vacations or from an authorized travel advisor. Be wary of unsolicited emails or social media messages claiming to offer vouchers. They might be bogus.

Run the product ID code

Each Apple Vacations voucher has a unique product ID code. You can visit Apple’s website and use the check travel balance option to verify the authenticity. Simply enter the code, and the system will confirm if it’s legitimate. (Related: A health crisis, a missed vacation and no chance at a refund?)

Check the details

Those include:

  • Booking restrictions: Check if there are any restrictions on booking dates, destinations, or other limitations.
  • Expiration date: Make sure the voucher’s expiration date aligns with your travel plans.
  • Terms and conditions: Read the fine print carefully. Authentic vouchers will have clear rules.

From time to time, Apple Vacations also offers promo codes for upcoming tours. These are different from vouchers (they give you a discount instead of a credit) and you can also verify their authenticity on the site.

Remember, if you have any questions, you can contact Apple Vacations directly to ask about the validity of your voucher.

Who should rescue you from this Apple Vacation voucher quagmire?

I would have leaned on your travel advisor for help. Agents have insurance that protects them from errors and omissions, and you might have received a quick resolution through your travel advisor. But the travel expert might have also negotiated a settlement on your behalf with Apple Vacations.

When I suggested you pressure your travel agent for a solution, you mentioned that your advisor runs a small business in your neighborhood and that you wanted to be a supportive customer. That’s a great attitude, but you are being supportive of travel agents by holding them accountable for this Apple Vacations voucher.

I list the names, numbers and emails of the Apple Vacations executives on this site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have fixed this quickly. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

You reached out to my advocacy team and I contacted Apple Vacations on your behalf. Separately, your travel agent met with Apple and you also sent an email to the company — a real team effort! 

Apple Vacations agreed to refund you the $200.

But honestly, this case makes me wonder if these tour vouchers are worth the paper they’re printed on. This isn’t the first worthless voucher case we’ve received — and I’m sure it won’t be our last. What do you think?

Are tour vouchers worth the paper they're printed on?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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